Lecturer alleges U.S. government 9/11 plot

(Published August 2, 2006, 11:00 a.m.)

By Mike Heine/The Week

Inside the dim and dusty Silver Moon on Sunday afternoon, about 60 people stared with wondering eyes and listened with alert ears to 9/11 conspiracy theories explained by UW-Madison lecturer Kevin Barrett.

Barrett attracted national attention when some state lawmakers questioned his ability to teach. Several legislators, led by Rep. Steve Nass, R-La Grange, called for Barrett's removal as a lecturer if he planned to teach conspiracy theories.

But Barrett's audience Sunday apparently shared his skepticism of official versions of Sept. 11, 2001.

A show of hands near the end of the three-hour discussion indicated a majority of attendees believed the events of 9/11 were the product of an intricate U.S. government plot.

A handful indicated they suspected there might have been a plot.

Only three or four hands went up from people who believed al-Qaeda terrorists were behind the attacks.

Silver Moon owner Glenn Davis, who moderated what he called a "rational discussion" on what is known and unknown about 9/11, said such events will bring out the "truth" from that day.

"What we better start doing is educating our neighbors and friends and letting our neighbors know what's going on," Davis said.

A new investigation into 9/11 is more than warranted, he said several times.

"Once (these theories) start exploding," Barrett said, "public pressure is going to force everybody-Democrats, Republicans, independents, whoever-to question this."

Barrett explained just some of his theories related to a suspected government plot. He focused primarily on the mysterious fall of World Trade Center building No. 7.

No planes hit the building, which fell after 5 p.m., more than eight hours after commercial jets struck the twin World Trade Center towers.

The 9/11 Commission report didn't address the collapse of building No. 7, Barrett said.

"What happened to building No. 7 is my bumper sticker of choice here," Barrett said of his most telling piece of evidence for a plot.

He brought up what he said were other improbabilities that point to a government conspiracy:

-- The ability of passengers to make phone calls from a fast-moving plane at high altitude.

-- The reasons and ways the buildings fell on top of themselves.

-- President Bush remaining in an elementary school classroom for 12 minutes after hearing of the attacks.

-- Hijackers being identified publicly days after the attacks.

"It seems like with the official story we got, the reasons it seems too good to be true is because it is too good to be true," Barrett said. "It was scripted that way."

Sunday's event was to allow for debate and questioning, but it was more a one-sided discussion among 9/11 skeptics.

"I still haven't found anyone to debate me on this issue," Barrett said. "As soon as someone shows up and they look like they'll do it, then they back down."

One questioner stumped Barrett about what happened to the commercial airline pilots and how come they haven't been heard from since 9/11.

"We don't really know (everything). There are just these things that add up that cause us to ask these questions," Barrett said.

Shorewood's Geoff Davidian made the trip to the Silver Moon, a tavern and blues club on the Rock-Walworth county line, to see what he called a shift in society's thinking.

"It is interesting to see sociologically how a movement begins with so many wild-eyed people that cry out and no one listens to them, but this one seems to have traction," Davidian said.

Davidian didn't know if Barrett's theories were right or wrong, but he supports Barrett's freethinking.

"It's people like Barrett who are making us look at these questions," he said. "It's horrible to think the interests of the U.S. government is greater than that of the people who live in it. If that is true, then God help the U.S."

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